The story goes that a guy named Isaac Newton sat under a tree reading a book when an apple dropped down on his head. He could have jumped up hollering and belligerent, "Who planted this tree? Why did this apple fall on me? Why me?!” Instead, he asked why apples always fall straight to the ground rather than sideways or upward. This question, as we know, propelled him to eventually develop his theory of gravity.
Whether the story about the apple hitting his head is factual or not, what is undeniable is that Isaac Newton became curious and asked an evolutionary question. This question propelled his thought forward to allow something new to emerge.
I’ve come to use curiosity as a go-to tool that works in all situations. This deep sense of inquiry, a genuine interest and willingness to know more, opens up a space for new ideas to be revealed. Asking masterful questions can lead to transformation and growth. The idea is to become curious. For example, the question “What’s wrong with me?” may leave an individual feeling stuck and negative, but notice the difference when this question is reframed to “What is going on with me?” Applying this when interacting with others can lead to genuine understanding as well.
Newton’s First Law of Motion is that an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. I think this is a good illustration for us. Think of being in an emotional spin, whatever it may be. A willingness to investigate more deeply and make the masterful inquiry will be the catalyst for transforming the situation and yourself. Some empowering questions might be:
What skills am I being called to develop?
How can I serve?
What quality am I being called to shift?
What wants to emerge in my life?
What am I to see about this situation or person?
What is the deeper message here?
What brings me joy?
What advice would I give to a close friend?
What do I value?
How do I want to show up in the world?
What story have I told myself about this person/situation?
Is it true?
These are empowering questions that invite answers that lead to discovery. We can think of our minds like a search engine; we know that when we input a question into Google or Duck Duck Go, the answers will support and match the question. If we find ourselves in the midst of crisis, uncertainty, fear, or anger, we might be tempted to react with questions that seek to blame or accuse. If we’re asking, “Who’s fault is this?” We will most likely receive the name of someone to blame or shame which can feel negative and leave the matter unresolved. If instead we ask, “What must I understand about this situation?” we will then discover a list of possible ideas that may drive the situation forward into resolution and harmony rather than remain stuck in disfavor.
Sometimes we may feel uncertain or confused, it can be helpful to remember that many breakthroughs are preceded by uncertainty. Consider the renaissance period which led to a major shift in European thought. An environment full of curiosity, questions, and discovery emerged and eventually set the stage for the modern western worldview.
It only takes a little willingness to formulate the masterful questions which lead to answers that will set in motion new possibilities. It is conceivable that you just may stumble across the one transformative question that shifts your whole life.